Wollongong council to vote on coastal walk

Grand Pacific Walk supporter Cr Leigh Colacino looks over part of the proposed route along the Illawarra coast. Picture: ROBERT PEET

Grand Pacific Walk supporter Cr Leigh Colacino looks over part of the proposed route along the Illawarra coast. Picture: ROBERT PEET

Councillors will vote on whether to adopt plans for the Grand Pacific Walk, a shared walking and cycling track along the Illawarra coast, at the Wollongong City Council meeting on Monday night.

The stage one concept plan and the master plan for the walk, which have been in development since July 2012, are set to be endorsed.

The first stage of the walk, which stretches 3.5 kilometres from Stanwell Park to Coalcliff along Lawrence Hargrave Drive, received $5 million from the Restart NSW Illawarra Infrastructure Fund.

The fund took $100 million from the lease of Port Kembla and granted it to 20 projects in the region.

A Wollongong City Council spokeswoman said council would receive the money from the Infrastructure Fund as work on the walk progressed.

"Once councillors consider the stage one concept plans and the master plan then the funding agreement with Restart NSW Illawarra Infrastructure Fund can go ahead," she said.

"The funding will be received as work progresses, ie, not upfront, in accordance with the agreed expenditure program that includes council's financial contribution, similar to a construction contract."

She said the the walk was expected to generate more than $20 million in direct and indirect economic benefits for Wollongong.

In January, the council voted to accept a $724,986 tender from Fernandez Constructions to build a shared bridge over Stoney Creek at Coalcliff as part of the pathway.

Plans for the walk were most recently on public exhibition between November and February. Several submissions raised concerns about the safety of cyclists and pedestrians, including whether the path would be wide enough to accommodate all users, but the council determined no changes to the plan were required.

The walk will ultimately stretch between the Royal National Park to Lake Illawarra alongside the Grand Pacific Drive route and will give cyclists and pedestrians access to views and attractions along the coast.

Though other stages of the walk are yet to be funded, adopting the master plan will provide direction for future council budgets and state and federal government funding applications.

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